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3 Big Things Today, February 22

Beans, Corn Slightly Higher Overnight; RFA's Dinneen Confident in Trump's Moves.

1. Soybeans, Grains Modestly Higher on Concerns Over Argentina Rain

Soybeans and grains were modestly higher in overnight trading on growing concerns that persistent rainfall in Argentina will delay the country’s harvest.

More rain fell over the weekend in much of Argentina’s soybean- and corn-growing regions, according to Commodity Weather Group. As much as 4 inches fell, with about 70% of growing areas receiving rain, the forecaster said.

The excessive rainfall may alleviate some concerns about a global glut of soybeans and grains, if the start of Argentina’s harvest is delayed, analysts said.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 3¢ to $10.29¼ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal futures rose 20¢ to $337.60 a short ton, and soy oil gained 0.27¢ to 33.22¢ a pound.

Corn futures added 1½¢ to $3.70¾ a bushel in Chicago.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 2½¢ to $4.52¼ a bushel. Kansas City wheat rose 1¼¢ to $4.53½ a bushel.

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2. Renewable Fuels Association CEO Dinneen Confident in Trump

The head of the Renewable Fuels Association assured an audience at an industry show yesterday that he believes President Trump will keep campaign promises to support agriculture and ethanol and that his tough talk on trade will, at the end of the day, improve the U.S.'s position as a global exporter of agricultural products.

Analysts and farm groups have expressed concern that Trump’s tough stance with Mexico – saying he wanted to implement a 20% tax on goods imported from the country to help pay for a border wall and his suggestion that he would impose a 35% tax on wares from China – will hurt agriculture if those countries retaliate by putting in place their own tariffs. The president said at an August rally in Iowa that he would cut taxes for farmers, calling producers the "backbone" of the country. Indeed, in a letter to the ethanol industry on Tuesday, he said he “values the importance of renewable fuels to America’s economy and energy dependence.” 

RFA Chief Executive Bob Dinneen said he’s not worried about trade, as Trump is using his rhetoric as a negotiating tactic and that, at the end of the day, the position of the U.S. as an exporter of farm goods will be preserved or strengthened.

Dinneen told members of the National Ethanol Conference that while growers are still struggling to make a profit due to low crop prices and high input costs, ethanol has buoyed futures. U.S. growers last fall harvested 15.1 billion bushels of corn. Of that, 5.35 billion will be used to make ethanol, accounting for 37% of total use, according to the Department of Agriculture. That’s a shade under what will be used to feed livestock but more than double what is exported, USDA data show.

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3. Large Storm Tracking From Rockies Into Plains, Midwest

A massive winter storm watch is in effect for a stretch of land from western Wyoming all the way up to northern Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

“A strong upper-level trough of low pressure will track across the central Rockies today,” the NWS said in an early morning report. “As this emerges into the Plains tonight, rain will initially develop … (and) as colder air pushes into western and north-central Nebraska overnight into Thursday, rain will change to snow.”

Total accumulations of snow in the Sandhills and north-central Nebraska could reach as high as 15 inches, the agency said. Winds also will increase as the storm moves east.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Plains, a red-flag warning has been issued due to warm weather, strong winds, and low humidity.

Temperatures are expected to be in the high 70s to mid-80s in much of southwestern Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, according to the NWS. Humidity is expected to be extremely low, from 8% to 15%, and winds will gust to as high as 50 mph. Fires are not recommended.

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